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Martinez: We'll cope with SAS

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has backed his team to stand firm against Liverpool's feared strike duo this weekend.

Last Updated: 23/11/13 at 12:16 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Everton Specials. Click here to bet.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge: Have scored a combined 18 goals this season

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge: Have scored a combined 18 goals this season

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have already netted 18 goals between them ahead of the first Merseyside derby of the season at Goodison Park this weekend.

But Martinez is concentrating on getting his own side's tactics right on Saturday rather than formulating a plan specifically to deal with Suarez and Sturridge.

"They have had a very good start to the season, they are very influential in their team," the Everton boss said. "From that partnership up front, they have got a real goalscoring threat.

"You do see why Liverpool have been successful this season, it is not an accident. I do feel they are a strong side. But as a team, you are always used to coping with threats of the opposition.

"Not long ago we had a very good team full of individuals here - Spurs - and we dealt with them really well.

"It is more about what we can do and how we can perform in the derby rather than being worried about what the opposition can bring."

Everton have kept three successive clean sheets, although they have not scored in their last two outings against Tottenham and Crystal Palace, but Martinez is confident the goals will soon flow again.

He added: "We haven't been scoring goals due to certain aspects that we need to work on but the way we have been getting in the final third has been fantastic. That is where the excitement comes.

"We are very close to getting into a position where we can control games and score goals at the end of it. We see it as a normal process we need to get through rather than something that is lacking.

"This could be a very significant game. There are other clashes between teams in the top seven and that makes it a very interesting weekend.

"It makes it an opportunity we want to take. We want to get away from the feeling of just fighting for the Merseyside rights. It goes a little bit further than that and making sure it is a strong start to the season.

"It is difficult in international week to have a normal week preparing for a big game but I think we are used to it. It is not a one-off situation.

"But maybe it is easier to prepare for a derby after the international break than any other game because the players come back fully focused.

"Even when on international duty they start thinking about the game. They know the derby is around the corner.

"I have realised after five months at the club how much this fixture means to the fans. I am well aware."

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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